At the Feb. 19 Special Board of Selectmen’s meeting, First Selectman Jim Zeoli opened by stating that there have been a lot of stories regarding the Peck Place School situation floating around town in the past few weeks.
He said that phases 2 and 3 of the remediation plan were before the board so they could decide whether or not to approve presenting them to the Board of Finance.
Phase 1 is completed and the decision to spend additional money on the other two phases is not up to the Selectmen because the dollar amount goes beyond what the town has in its budget.
“There are more meetings to come,” Zeoli told the standing room only crowd of parents, school officials and others.
To clarify some of the rumors and speculation that have been spread, he said, “We never said we were not going to fix the school or remediate or ventilate.”
On Thursday, Jan. 30, Zeoli, BOE Business Manager Kevin McNabola and others had a meeting in the First Selectman’s Office at which time he asked for estimates to put Peck Place School back together, to replace what had been removed and to repair or encapsulate the asbestos because they (BOE) had only discussed removing it.
“My job is to ask questions, not to bring data and numbers, but to get the Board of Ed to bring numbers,” he said.
Over the past weekend, Zeoli fielded questions via e-mail, by phone and personal visits.
He said one Peck parent with a specula needs child said the child’s folder was on the teacher’s desk in a room that flooded and was afraid the information was possibly not backed up in the office. She asked if it was required by the town.
“That is not up to the town, it is the Board of Education’s job,” he said. “Yes, we (the entire Board of Selectmen) are concerned with the town, the buildings, residents and children. Just today (the BOE) added another bill for $26,000 to phase one, which the Selectmen approved last week. The incorrect bill had been sent to the BOS.”
He said Phase 2 is a couple hundred thousand dollars and Phase 3 is an open ended contract of about $40,000
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McNabola Talks Numbers
Next, Kevin McNabola addressed the audience Phase 1a took an additional $26,513 (which was presented to the BOS that day) making it $88,750
$291,936 for the emergency work that had to be done
$38,443 to do the necessary work in the media center and library
The total he gave was $445, 642
— After the BOE meets to approve phases 2 and 3, Orange Live hopes to obtain the financial paperwork to clarify exactly where all of this money is going.
Like Zeoli, McNabola said the work on Peck Place had not been included in the town’s budget for the year, so it will have to go through the Board of Finance (BOF).
McNabola is in touch with the state seeking reimbursement after getting approvals from the Selectmen and BOE. A Bond Referendum would be probable.
The town could possibly receive 36% reimbursement from the state (approximately $160,000) but there is no guarantee Orange will get any state money.
The procedure involves traveling to Hartford, presenting the plans and IF it is approved, the town will not receive any money until all of the work is completed.
Selectman Ken Lenz asked if all the asbestos in the building would be abated.
McNabola said the mastic in the glue under the tile floor, ceilings, and roof drains would be clean. Adding that Peck Place would be an asbestos free building when done to the extend that it can be.
The total bill to do ALL of the proposed work, including plumbing, flooring, cabinetry, painting etc. would be upwards of $2 million.
That, plus the bond approved roof, would give the building an extended life of 15-20 years.
I do apologize for posting this so late, I am fighting a cold and fever today.